Yesterday, about a billion posts ago, we reported that New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg wants to create a new gun control law: Concealing While Intoxicated (CWI). But we were more interested in his unspecified promise to streamline the process of applying for and (theoretically) receiving a permit to carry a concealed weapon in The City That Never Sleeps. TTAG promised to keep an eye out for the details of that deal. (In the Land of the Blind . . .) The New York Times reports that “One change outlined on Friday is geared toward transparency by having the police ‘offer more detailed examples of eligibility standards for a permit, and make the additional examples available both in print and online,’ according to a news release from the mayor’s office.” Thanks for the link guys. Not. Other changes include . . .
speeding up reviews of applications, reducing how many in-person visits new applicants must make, expanding ways to pay for license renewals and opening the Police Department’s licensing offices one evening a week. Also, at a time when other fees are rising or staying flat, one change calls for slashing fees for most renewal licenses, but Mr. Post said no specific amounts had been proposed. He said some fees might rise.”
Impressed? How’s this for damning with faint praise:
Alan Gura, the lead counsel for the plaintiff in the 2008 case, District of Columbia v. Heller, and a lawyer for residents of Chicago who are challenging its gun-control law, in McDonald v. Chicago, said Mr. Bloomberg’s move “sounds like progress.”
Personally, I prefer the smell of napalm in the morning. And i don’t mean that in any Department of Homeland security-triggering sense, guys. It’s a joke. Free speech? Tell you what: forget I said it. Jeez. So, can we look at what the press release actually said?
“The changes announced today will improve public safety and make the investigation process more effective,” said Mayor Bloomberg. “A rigorous license review should not include unnecessary red tape that slows down our investigators.”
Catch that? The streamlining is for the City, not for applicants. Here’s the whole package. We report, you deride. I’m whacked out. And I don’t mean that . . .
- Criminalizing carrying while intoxicated: Changing local law to create a new misdemeanor of carrying a gun while intoxicated in the City. The measure uses the same legal standard as driving while intoxicated. Violations could lead to sentences of up to one year in jail.
- Revised fee structure: Changing local law to modify fees for the various types of gun licenses in the City. In particular, the new system will offer lower fees for most renewal licenses.
- Speedy processing: The NYPD has already cut the average time to review applications for handguns in homes almost in half, from 20 weeks in 2007 to 11 weeks in 2009. The NYPD is committed to sustaining that figure, even though state law allows up to six months to process applications, and more time in exceptional cases. Enhanced technology and oversight in the overall application process have allowed the NYPD to focus more investigative resources on applicants who merit enhanced reviews.
- Choice of payment methods: The NYPD now accepts payment by credit card for initial license applications, rather than requiring money orders. By July 2010, it will accept credit cards for license renewal fees as well.
- Fewer in-person visits: The NYPD has already made it possible to download applications from its website, saving applicants a trip to an NYPD facility. A new secure process under development will allow applicants to pick up new handgun licenses by mail or electronically as well, rather than having to return to an NYPD office to collect them, reducing the number of in-person visits required for new applicants from four to three – and saving applicants time.
- More flexible hours: The NYPD’s licensing offices will offer evening hours once a week to make the process more convenient for working New Yorkers by July of this year.
- Additional guidance on the standards: The NYPD is required by state law to determine whether an applicant is of “good moral character” and whether other “good cause” makes the applicant ineligible to have a gun. NYPD will add to its regulations to offer more detailed examples of eligibility standards for a permit, and make the additional examples available both in print and online.
- Improved Identification Verification: In lieu of the current notarization requirement, NYPD will use in-person visits and technology to verify the identity of license applicants.